Tiger Woods Takes the Lead at British Open

Tiger Woods, moves to the top of the British Open championship, but it’s still a long way from over. On Friday, the world No.1, made two birdies and two bogeys on the front nine and sank a 10-foot putt on the final green to finish on two under par along with Lee Westwood of England and Swede Henrik Stenson.On Saturday, Woods was able to focus his concentration, to par the next six holes and set up a birdie on the last, which he celebrated with a trademark fist pump.“Towards the middle part of my round I lost the pace and was blowing it past the hole,” Woods told reporters. “But finally got it fixed at the end.”Play can and will change quickly, so stay informed with the live coverage in the video above. read more

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We Calculated Advanced Stats For The Congressional Baseball Game

The 2020 field is good at baseballDemocratic presidential candidates’ statistics in the Congressional Baseball Game, 2009-2018 Tim Ryan8.500.560.6364/00.27 Jay Inslee3.545.545.5450/00.08 A fierce political free-for-all will be waged on Wednesday night — but it has nothing to do with the Democratic presidential debate.Under the lights at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., Republican and Democratic members of Congress will don their uniforms and take the field to play in the annual Congressional Baseball Game. The event may be for a good cause, but it’s also a serious athletic contest: Bones have been broken in past games, and pitches have been clocked as high as 80 miles per hour. This year, Republican congressmen got up at 6 a.m. two to three times a week to train for the game under the tutelage of former pros including Darrell Evans. (It was at such a practice two years ago that a gunman opened fire on the Republican team, injuring then-Majority Whip Steve Scalise and three others.)The Republicans may be practicing extra hard this year in an effort to catch up to the dominance of the Democratic team, which has won nine of the past 10 matchups. That’s thanks largely to the fact that Democrats have the seven players with the most wins above replacement over that span.Wait, what?That’s right — the sabermetric revolution has reached the halls of Congress. Using the game’s official box scores, I’ve calculated advanced stats for all members of Congress to play in the game since 2009.1WAR, and all statistics in that spreadsheet, are calculated based on the formulas in the FanGraphs library. The linear weights used to calculate Weighted On-Base Average are those originally developed by Tom Tango. Unfortunately, the data is insufficient to calculate certain metrics, with the main consequence being that my version of WAR is incomplete — there is no defensive component, nor does it factor in baserunning outside of stolen bases (i.e., Ultimate Base Running and Weighted Grounded into Double Play Runs). That includes on-base plus slugging, adjusted earned run average, batting average on balls in play … and, yes, WAR, the sabermetric statistic of choice for totaling up a player’s value on all sides of the ball. And while most players haven’t played enough to accrue a significant number of WAR, some players’ talent does shine through. Rep. Cedric Richmond is such a talent. The Democrat from Louisiana has amassed 2.5 WAR in just eight games. That would work out to 50 WAR in a 162-game season; in other words, Richmond is like Mike Trout combined with Max Scherzer — if Scherzer pitched every single game. Richmond was the starting pitcher for the Dems in all eight games he’s played, finishing seven of them2Congressional Baseball Games last seven innings instead of the usual nine. and striking out 25.4 percent of batters. He has a 2.20 ERA and a 35 ERA-minus (i.e., his ERA is 65 percent better than league average). But he is also the best hitter in the game, with a .652/.758/1.087 slash line and the game’s only home run in the past 10 years.Democrats also claim most of the game’s next-best players, although several of them will not be on the active roster for this year’s game. Former Rep. Joe Baca (0.4 WAR in 14 innings pitched and seven plate appearances) was ousted from Congress by fellow Democrat Gloria Negrete McLeod in 2012 after his California district was redrawn in 2011; former Rep. Tim Bishop (.500/.684/.583) lost his seat on Long Island to Republican Lee Zeldin in 2014.The Democrats’ best active players, other than Richmond, are probably Reps. Pete Aguilar and Jimmy Panetta of California. They are far behind Richmond in WAR (0.2 and 0.1, respectively), but they’ve also had a fraction of his plate appearances. Their OPS marks of 1.470 and 1.5503Small-sample-size caveats apply, although I will say that it doesn’t take very many at-bats for players’ true skills to be exposed in this league. suggest that they are in his league talent-wise.Rep. Linda Sánchez, who owns a .944 OPS, is both one of the Democrats’ best players and one of only two women on the 2019 roster.4The other is Nanette Diaz Barragán. A handful of women have played in the Congressional Baseball Game since 1993, when Reps. Maria Cantwell, Blanche Lambert and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen together broke the game’s gender barrier, but the Congressional Women’s Softball Game is more popular with female legislators. Last week, the press team defeated the congressional team in the 11th iteration of the CWSG.5Unfortunately, we don’t have statistics for the CWSG.The best Republican baseball player has been Texas Rep. Kevin Brady. The 64-year-old is the game’s grizzled veteran, having played since 1997, his first year in Congress. In the past 10 contests, he has put up a .996 OPS and 0.2 WAR. An honorable mention goes to North Carolina Rep. Mark Walker, the GOP’s starting pitcher in the past four games. He has just a 6.46 ERA, but that’s actually about average (104 ERA-minus) in the high-scoring run environment of the Congressional Baseball Game.But because my stats are only for past games, they obviously don’t measure rookie talent. And Republicans think they can level the playing field a bit this year with freshman Rep. Anthony Gonzalez — that’s the same Anthony Gonzalez who played five years for the Indianapolis Colts. However, Democrats will trot out a secret weapon of their own: freshman Rep. Colin Allred, who played four years for the Tennessee Titans and was a star baseball player in high school.Gonzalez and Allred will be far from the only former pros to play in the Congressional Baseball Game. The game was founded in 1909 by former Republican Rep. John Tener, who pitched in the majors from 1888 to 1890. In 1986, Republicans thought they scored a coup when now-Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Bunning was elected to Congress, but he gave up seven runs in two innings in the next year’s game; his nonathlete catcher couldn’t glove his curveball, and the 55-year-old’s fastball lacked its prior zip. Former Rep. Steve Largent, the football Hall of Famer, was far more effective for the GOP; he went 5-1 with a 2.44 ERA in six starts from 1995 to 2001.Some big political names have played in the game as well. Before the 2017 shooting, Scalise, one of the highest-ranking members to ever play the game, had reached base in three of his four career plate appearances and stolen two bases; he returned to the game briefly last year, throwing a runner out from second base on the first play of the game and being mobbed by his teammates. In 2015, Sen. Rand Paul became the first active presidential candidate ever to play in the game; he’s got a .615 OPS for his career. (Rand plays in the game as a tribute to his father, Ron, who in 1979 hit one of the only over-the-fence home runs in Congressional Baseball Game history.) Even former Rep. Anthony Weiner took one at-bat back in 2009; as he did at politics, he struck out.Finally, it turns out there’s a ton of baseball talent in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary field. Jay Inslee, Beto O’Rourke, Tim Ryan and Eric Swalwell all played during their congressional careers — and most of them played well. Eric Swalwell5.250.250.2509/00.08 Beto O’Rourke1.000.000.0000/0-0.03 *WAR does not include baserunning other than stolen bases.Source: Congressional Baseball Game box scores PlayerGAVGOBPSLGSB/CSOffensive WAR* In fact, the presidential bids of Ryan and Swalwell have been big blows to the Democratic baseball team. Both are still in Congress, and Ryan’s bat and Swalwell’s speed have been big assets to Democrats in the past several games. But with the first Democratic primary debates scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday in Miami, they are both apparently skipping the bout this year. read more

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What If An Evil Commissioner Turned Hank Aarons Homers Into Singles

Last week I wrote about Hank Aaron, who recently celebrated the 40th anniversary of his record-breaking 715th home run. I concluded that Aaron would still have been a great player — and would very likely have made the Baseball Hall of Fame — even if all of his home runs had been counted as singles instead.Or at least — that’s almost what I wrote. What I actually wrote left a lot of room for interpretation (emphasis added from original):What if Aaron had never hit a home run? What if those 755 round-trippers had fallen for base hits instead? (If we’re trying to isolate the effect of his power, that seems like the fairer way to do it, instead of turning them into popups or something.) Would he still be a Hall of Famer?If all of his homers had been singles, Aaron would still have his 3,771 hits.The ambiguity is over the means by which we’re turning Aaron’s home runs into singles. When writing the original post, I’d imagined that this was accomplished by some sort of accounting trick. After Aaron retired, some Evil Commissioner decreed that all of Aaron’s homers would be counted as singles in baseball’s record book (like how the NCAA sometimes retroactively forfeits a team’s wins after it’s determined to have used an ineligible player); but it wouldn’t have changed what happened on the field.But what if the change had occurred on the field instead? So as not to violate any laws of physics, we can imagine it happened by means of a ground rule. Before Aaron made his major league debut, our Evil Commissioner decreed that any ball hit over the fence in fair territory by Henry Louis Aaron would be counted as a single rather than a home run. This rule applied to Hank Aaron and only to Hank Aaron. Everybody knew about the rule, including Hank Aaron, the pitchers who faced Hank Aaron, and the teams who employed Hank Aaron, and they were free to adjust their strategies accordingly.1A couple of complications: First, is Aaron allowed to hit inside-the-park home runs? Sure, let’s let him; he hit only one during the course of his career anyway.Next, what happens to the baserunners when Aaron hits a ground-rule single? Do they advance only one base? This would make Hank Aaron’s ground-rule singles less valuable than regular singles, since baserunners sometimes advance from first to third or score from second on a base hit. So let’s imagine that our Evil Commissioner decrees that a set of Strat-O-Matic dice shall be thrown by the umpires when Hank Aaron hits a ground-rule single. The baserunners will then be allowed to take an extra base in accordance with league-wide averages for runner advancement.This thought experiment is starting to get a bit complicated. Still, it gets to the point that the economists Scott Sumner and Tyler Cowen have made, which is that changing the ground rules for Aaron would have changed the way he and the pitchers who faced him approached the game. It thereby might have affected the rest of Aaron’s batting line and not just his home runs. There are several such effects to consider.Aaron would have drawn fewer walksThe number of walks drawn by a hitter is partly a function of his plate discipline and partly a matter of how much the pitcher fears him. The reason to risk walking a hitter, as Cowen notes, should be largely a function of his extra-base power. There’s not much reason to pitch around a singles hitter and give him a free pass to first base when most of the time the best he’s going to do is get to first base anyway by means of a base hit.This is clearest in the case of intentional walks.2Or at least it should be obvious in theory; whether it’s quite so obvious to pitchers and managers is another question. I was surprised to discover that singles hitters like Ichiro Suzuki and Wade Boggs each led their league in intentional walks multiple times during the course of their careers. Some of these intentional walks may have been prudent if first base was open and there were runners in scoring position. But I’d guess that many of them were not very smart. Still, the aggregate trend is suggestive of rational behavior. In the 2013 season, the correlation between a hitter’s rate of intentional walks drawn and his isolated power was .44. The correlation between intentional walks and his rate of singles per at-bat was essentially zero (.03).Aaron’s unintentional walks would probably also have declined if he weren’t allowed to hit home runs. According to data compiled by Fangraphs, the percentage of pitches thrown in the strike zone to major league hitters varies between about 40 percent and 55 percent. The hitters on the low end of the range are power hitters (Ryan Howard, Prince Fielder, Vladimir Guerrero, Pablo Sandoval); those at the top end are singles hitters (David Eckstein, Jason Kendall, Chone Figgins, Juan Pierre). A homerless Hank Aaron would have seen considerably more strikes.Aaron would have hit for a higher batting averageSeeing more pitches in the strike zone would have made it easier for Aaron to make contact. From 2009 to 2013, the league batting average for at-bats that concluded on a pitch thrown within the strike zone was .291; for pitches outside the strike zone, it was just .175.3Players were also 3.6 times more likely to hit home runs on at-bats that concluded on pitches thrown in the strike zone, although that doesn’t help Homerless Hank. (This research was provided to me by Mark Simon of ESPN Stats & Info.)A quick calculation from these figures shows that if Aaron finished an additional 10 percent of his at-bats on pitches thrown inside the strike zone, he’d boost his career batting average by 12 points (from .305 to .317). However, that’s a crude estimate. We’d also have to consider how Aaron and the pitchers and defenses who faced him would have changed their whole approach to the at-bat.There’s reason to think that Aaron would have adapted to these conditions more readily than his opponents. He was a smart and versatile hitter; Sports Illustrated’s 1958 scouting report described how Aaron was very difficult to defend because he could hit to all fields and leg out infield hits (emphasis added from original):Man who excites the experts is Henry Aaron, of the loose, free swing. Called “best wrist hitter in baseball,” he’s actually an arm hitter, lashing pitch with masterful coordination of forearms, biceps, wrists and bat. Slumped through June but has had best record in league since then. No set way to fix defenses against him, since he hits to all fields, bunts beautifully, is fast enough to beat out infield hits. He’s also a good, if lackadaisical, outfielder, with a fine arm. The team’s big man.Furthermore, we have some experimental evidence on cases in which Aaron had an incentive to hit for contact. He performed very well in these situations.Singles increase in value relative to home runs when there are runners in scoring position. For his career, Aaron hit .322 with runners in scoring position.4Aaron accomplished this by means of hitting more singles; 20.4 percent of his at-bats with runners in scoring position concluded with singles, compared to 17.6 percent with the bases empty. His rate of extra-base hits was largely unchanged. Note that there is not a strong systematic tendency for players to hit for a higher average with runners in scoring position. In 2013, major leaguers hit .255 as a group with runners in scoring position, compared to .253 for all at-bats.Singles become more valuable still when there are runners in scoring position and the score is tied late in the game. In these cases, either a single or a homer will usually score the go-ahead run and win the game, so the hitter should be hitting for contact and the pitcher should be trying to prevent contact. I looked for at-bats on Baseball-Reference.com’s Play Index when Aaron hit with runners in scoring position in the seventh inning or later of a tied game. It’s a small sample — just 139 at-bats. But Aaron hit .331 in these situations for his career.Another natural experiment comes from cases in which home runs aren’t necessarily less valuable, but are harder to hit. Of the ballparks Aaron played at regularly during his career, the one least conducive to home runs was almost certainly Forbes Field in Pittsburgh, where the left field and right field power alleys were 392 and 395 feet away from home plate, respectively. From 1954 (Aaron’s debut season) until the Pittsburgh Pirates’ last full season in Forbes Field in 1969, the Pirates hit 65 percent more home runs in road games than at Forbes Field. They also hit for a slightly higher batting average in Forbes Field than on the road, although the difference was modest (.267 versus .259).How about Hank Aaron? He adapted wonderfully to Forbes Field, hitting .338 for his career in 639 at-bats there. That’s a little bit better even than Pirates great Roberto Clemente (.329), whose game was tailor-made for Forbes Field.Aaron might have seen less playing timeThe no-homers ground rule might have made teams more reluctant to employ Aaron, especially toward the end of his career. After breaking the home run record as a member of the Atlanta Braves, Aaron played two farewell seasons as a designated hitter for the Milwaukee Brewers in 1975 and 1976. He hit just .234 and .229 during those seasons. The Brewers were terrible back then, but they might not have had much patience for Aaron if he didn’t compensate for his poor batting averages with occasional home runs.It’s also plausible that the start of Aaron’s major league career would have been delayed, but this case is more debatable. Aaron’s potential as a singles hitter would have been evident quite early. He began his professional career as a 17-year-old in the Negro Leagues, where he hit .366 in recorded at-bats as a member of the Indianapolis Clowns. Purchased by the Braves for $10,000, he then hit .336 and .362 in minor league seasons in 1952 and 1953.5Furthermore, the Braves had an opening for Aaron since they had traded the veteran outfielder Sid Gordon at the end of the 1953 season. Press accounts from the time do not seem to mention Aaron’s emergence as a motivating factor for the Braves to trade Gordon, though it may have played into their thinking.Aaron might have stolen more basesIn the comments on my original post, some readers noted that if Aaron had hit more singles, he’d have had more opportunity to steal bases. This is true — although I also have Homerless Hank drawing fewer walks and perhaps getting less playing time than the real Aaron, which would counteract his increased rate of singles.It’s probably the case, though, that Aaron could have stolen more bases if he’d wanted to. He was reasonably fast early in his career, as the Sports Illustrated scouting report mentions. But the stolen base was not in vogue in the 1950s and Aaron rarely attempted to steal. Steals became a much more popular strategy in the 1960s, however, and Aaron proved to be a proficient base-stealer. He stole 240 bases during his career and was successful on 77 percent of his steal attempts, leading the National League in stolen base percentage in 1966 and 1968. His high rate of success suggests that Aaron may have left a few opportunities on the table. Perhaps if he had been cast as a singles hitter, his teams would have expected him to be more active on the bases. He presumably also would have hit first or second in the batting order rather than third or fourth, which means he’d reach base more often with second base open.Aaron might have hit doubles and triples at a higher rateIf Aaron had only been credited with singles on balls that cleared the fence, he would have had reason to swing for the gaps more often in an effort to hit doubles and triples.In general, however, it’s not all that easy for players to try to hit doubles. The league leaders in doubles change quite a lot from year to year and the lists mostly comprise good overall hitters who play in stadiums like Fenway Park that are conductive to doubles. Still, none of those hitters faces incentives where doubles are actually more valuable than balls hit over the fence. As the scouting reports and batting splits makes clear, Aaron could hit to all fields and was smart about adapting his approach to the situation. I imagine that he’d find a way to hit a few more doubles and triples.Summing upThe real Hank Aaron hit for a .305/.374/.555 “slash line” (batting average/on-base percentage/slugging percentage). If all his home runs had been changed to singles after the fact, his line would have been .305/.374/.371 instead. But this doesn’t account for the changes Aaron and the pitchers might have made as they adapted to the ground rule.It’s just a guess, of course — but I imagine that Aaron would have hit somewhere in the .320s as a result of seeing more strikes and changing his approach to make more contact. His slugging average would have gone up accordingly, perhaps also boosted by a few extra doubles and triples. However, he would have drawn fewer walks, which could offset any gains in his on-base percentage. I envision his slash line as being something like .325/.375/.405, which is reasonably similar to Rod Carew’s.I don’t think Homerless Hank would have been in any jeopardy of failing to notch 3,000 hits. He may even have reached 4,000. The real Hank Aaron had 3,771 hits, and I have Homerless Hank hitting for a higher batting average. I also have him drawing fewer walks, which means more opportunities to put the ball in play. In fact, a .325/.375/.405 batting line would translate to roughly 4,150 hits given the number of plate appearances Aaron had. That would put him in striking distance of Ty Cobb, who had 4,189 hits. (Pete Rose surpassed Cobb’s record in 1985 and finished with 4,256 hits.)I also imagine that Homerless Hank wouldn’t have been very productive in the last couple of seasons of his career; his batting average over his final three seasons was .244. Teams don’t normally have much interest in singles hitters who hit .244. Still, they sometimes find spots for players who are pursuing career landmarks; Rose was somewhere between marginally productive and counterproductive after the age of 40, and yet he got (and gave himself as player-manager) another 2,469 plate appearances. If the Braves or the Brewers had been so generous to Aaron, it’s possible the Home Run King would have ended up as baseball’s Hit King instead. read more

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Tyquan Lewis and Raekwon McMillan looking for Nagurski Trophy honors

Then redshirt sophomore defensive end Tyquan Lewis (59) drags down Maryland redshirt junior quarterback Perry Hills on Oct. 10. OSU won 49-28.Credit: Lantern file photoThe presence of junior defensive end Tyquan Lewis and junior outside linebacker Raekwon McMillan was felt last season throughout the Big Ten. Both men are expected to have big years for the Scarlet and Gray, while also looking to secure Nagurski Award honors.The Nagurski Award, presented by the Football Writers Association of America and the Charlotte Touchdown Club, is given to the top defensive player in all of college football. An OSU player has only taken the hardware once since it’s creation in 1993: former St. Louis Rams and current New Orleans Saints linebacker James Laurinaitis.Lewis has yet to be the No. 1 defensive end on the Buckeyes’ squad, spending most of his time in the shadow of former standout Joey Bosa and losing snaps to then-freshman Sam Hubbard last season. However, Lewis has spent most of the spring as the primary defensive end on the line, looking to improve off an impressive performance last year.Totaling eight sacks and 54 tackles in his 2015 campaign, Lewis had surgery in January to repair a torn shoulder labrum. He has been making progress throughout the offseason, and is expected to be ready to go once the season kicks off.Then-freshman linebacker Raekwon McMillan (5) tackles Michigan then-sophomore running back De’Veon Smith (4) during a Nov. 29 game at Ohio Stadium. OSU won, 42-28. Credit: Lantern File PhotoMcMillan has been a key contributor to the Buckeyes since starting as a freshman in 2014. Totaling 54 tackles in the national championship season for OSU, he saw playing time in all 15 games that year. Last year, after the departure of Curtis Grant in 2014, McMillan became the primary linebacker for the Scarlet and Gray, and it showed. The former five-star high school recruit led the team in tackles, and showed improved technique and speed. Both men are also on the watch list for the Bednarik Award, a similar award given to the nation’s top defender as voted by the Maxwell Football Club.McMillan and Lewis are joined by other OSU players looking to bring home awards this season. Senior center Pat Elflein is on both the Rimington and Outland Trophy watch lists for best offensive lineman of the year, and redshirt junior quarterback JT Barrett is on the watch list for the Maxwell Award, given to the best player in college football.OSU is set to begin the 2016 campaign on Sept. 3 against Bowling Green at Ohio Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for noon. read more

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Ohio State football seniors have plenty to play for in 2012

The Ohio State football team can’t play in a bowl game next year, but don’t tell the seniors on the team they have nothing to play for in their final season. Twenty-two senior Buckeyes will play their final game in Ohio Stadium next year and said they want to go out on a high note. After posting a 6-7 record in 2011, several seniors said they are looking for improvement and better results this season. Senior tight end Jake Stoneburner said the seniors have to make the most of their final campaign at OSU and are motivated by underachieving last fall. “We have to play to the best of our ability because we seniors only have eight games left in the ‘Shoe and then that’s it,” Stoneburner said. “We had a disappointing season last year, so we want to come out and prove we’re a better team and that last year was a fluke.” Going to a BCS or other high-profile bowl is out of the question in 2012 due to an NCAA-imposed bowl ban, so some players said the focus shifts to winning games. Senior punter Ben Buchanan said the bowl ban hasn’t changed his level of excitement for the upcoming season. “I know the bowl ban is probably on the back of everyone’s mind, but we seniors just want to go out and win 12 games, beat Michigan and all those great things that any Ohio State team would look for,” Buchanan said. “I know a lot of guys have personal goals, but our goal overall as a team is to pick up Ws.” The bowl ban, along with a reduction in scholarships, come as the consequences to an NCAA investigation that found that six players had received improper benefits in the form of tattoos in exchange for memorabilia. Of the six, former running back Daniel “Boom” Herron, former wide receiver DeVier Posey and former offensive tackle Mike Adams all moved on to the NFL this April. Former quarterback Terrelle Pryor, who often found himself at the center of the scrutiny following the scandal, departed the university prior to the 2011 season to pursue a career in the NFL. Linebacker Jordan Whiting also received a one-game suspension and has since transferred to Louisville. Former coach Jim Tressel was forced to resign in May of 2011 after it became clear that he had known about the violations and failed to report them, thereby knowingly playing ineligible players during the 2010 season. With the hiring of coach Urban Meyer, the seniors will play for their third coach in three seasons after 2011 head coach Luke Fickell was moved to defensive coordinator and linebackers coach this season. Etienne Sabino, senior linebacker, said he also appreciates Meyer’s honesty when analyzing and criticizing the players. “It puts you in an uncomfortable position, but I think it’s good because he sees how you perform under pressure. It shows how you can react,” Sabino said. “I’ve learned there is no gray area. They’re going to tell you what they think of you.” The seniors will start their final year with OSU at home against Miami (Ohio) Sept. 1. read more

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Stakes remain high for Ohio State mens basketballs latest meeting with Kansas

With the faintest of grins, Ohio State’s Lenzelle Smith Jr. made sure to note that former Kansas big man Thomas Robinson won’t be in Columbus to bully the Buckeyes in the paint Saturday. “That’s a huge relief,” the junior guard said almost gratefully, as if the thought of the hulking 6-foot-10, 240-pound forward evoked memories – perhaps agonizing ones – of what happened the last time the teams met. Largely thanks to his 19 points and eight boards in last year’s Final Four matchup, Robinson, who was selected as the 5th overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, helped ensure the anti-climatic end to what would’ve been OSU’s first national championship berth since 2007. Kansas coach Bill Self’s squad rallied from nine down at halftime to best the Buckeyes, 64-62, before falling to Kentucky on the sport’s biggest stage. Word of that might’ve taken some time to reach Smith Jr., though. “I didn’t continue to watch college basketball,” Smith Jr. said of his reaction to the season-ending loss. Almost eight months later – and more than a year ago since the Buckeyes’ first setback against the Jayhawks in a similarly hyped early-season matchup last December in Lawrence, Kansas, No. 7 OSU (8-1) might have another chance at revenge against No. 9 Kansas. Smith Jr., who admitted to have “been waiting for this game since our schedule got released,” stopped short of calling Saturday’s game revenge. “My mindset’s not on revenge,” he said. “We’re two different teams right now.” Smith Jr. likely is right in his assessment of playing the Jayhawks without Robinson and the likes of former guard Tyshawn Taylor, now of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets. Kansas (8-1) might not be quite the team it was last year – but maybe neither are the Buckeyes, which find themselves in a similar boat without the inside presence of former forward Jared Sullinger. “We’re trying to do our best with what we still have,” Smith Jr. said. And while the teams – in their personnel and dynamics – are different, the stakes aren’t quite as dissimilar. Similar to both meetings in 2011, Saturday’s showdown finds both clubs toward the top of the Associated Press poll – OSU at No. 7 and Kansas at No 9. In a 30 or 40-game season, hyped games such as these don’t always alter a team’s trajectory, but the outcome could serve as a projection. It did last season, after all. “Obviously you’re going to hopefully learn quite a bit about your basketball team as you get ready to head into January, February, March,” OSU coach Thad Matta said. “My job is to keep thinking big picture and knowing what lies ahead but you use this game as an opportunity.” Even inside the confines of the Schottenstein Center, Matta maintains an “experienced, seasoned” Jayhawks squad pose a threat that will almost certainly challenge an OSU team that’s been largely untested-save for a 73-68 loss against Duke on Nov. 28 at Cameron Indoor Stadium. “I think Kansas right now is playing at a level as high as anybody in college basketball,” Matta said. “They start four seniors. Man, it’s like wow.” Smith Jr. said Saturday might just to come down to which team proves more durable. “I think for both teams this game is going to be a toughness match,” he said. He’s not alone in that theory, either. “Who’s going to be the tougher basketball team?” OSU junior guard Aaron Craft said. “They do a phenomenal job of getting second-chance points, grabbing 50-50 balls, really limiting possessions for us offensively. “We have to find a way to overcome that-if not match that, or be better their intensity and their toughness. Because that’s what Kansas basketball is about.” The features Craft listed seem to be suggestive of a team matching its talent with as much effort. OSU, arguably, has struggled with that coming into their game against the Jayhawks and it might have been best exemplified against a mediocre Big South squad Tuesday, when OSU eked out perhaps its most ugly win of the season, 66-55, against Winthrop. “I guess what we’ve learned is we’re not going to be able to just come out here any given night and think we’re going to play our best basketball, we have to mentally prepare for that leading up to the game,” Smith Jr. said. “It’s part of being a winner and we’ve lacked on some that sometimes.” OSU and Kansas are scheduled to tip their game at 4 p.m. on Saturday. read more

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Football No 10 Ohio State searches for revival opportunity against Nebraska

Ohio State sophomore running back J.K. Dobbins (2) carries the ball downfield in the fourth quarter of the game against Minnesota on Oct. 13. Ohio State won. 30-14. Credit: Casey Cascaldo | Photo EditorOhio State needed a bye week more than pretty much any team in the nation.Following a 49-20 loss to Purdue, which came after disappointing outings against Minnesota and Indiana, the Buckeyes were left with various areas to improve before they had to face another opponent.Now, head coach Urban Meyer wants to move past the defeat and into his team’s next matchup.“We’re in the grind,” Meyer said. “This is all about getting ready for Nebraska, and moving forward.”Senior offensive tackle Isaiah Prince is not exactly forgetting about the loss to the Boilermakers: he is using his anger and taking it into Saturday.“If I lose, it’s a bad day for me. Whether it’s a video game, a rep, I don’t like losing. So yeah, I’m mad,” Prince said.  “I just want to see the Buckeyes play angry and pissed off, and let everybody know we’re still here.” Nebraska comes in with a two-game winning streak against Minnesota and Bethune-Cookman after losing its first six games to start the season.Head coach Scott Frost is in his first season with the Cornhuskers after leading UCF to an undefeated record, including a victory over then-No. 7 Auburn in the Peach Bowl.Frost has brought his offensive coaching ability to Nebraska, with the Cornhuskers ranking in the top 50 in the NCAA in rushing, passing and total offense.Freshman quarterback Adrian Martinez has gained momentum as the season progressed, breaking 400 total yards in three of his past five contests. On the season, Martinez is up to 1,656 passing and 408 rushing yards, completing 66.3 percent of his throws for 15 total touchdowns and six interceptions.Meyer said Martinez is an “elite guy” that offers a dual-threat ability, and who has “done a great job” over his past two games.Martinez’s main weapon is redshirt sophomore wide receiver JD Spielman, who has 53 catches for 686 yards and seven touchdowns.Spielman has been compared to Purdue freshman wide receiver Rondale Moore, who caught 12 passes for 170 yards and two touchdowns against the Buckeyes two weeks ago. Meyer said Spielman is “very close” to Moore, and a “very talented guy.”Junior safety Jordan Fuller covered Spielman often in Ohio State’s matchup with Nebraska last season in the nickel, and he said he remembers the talent the then-redshirt freshman could bring.“Really talented guy, quick and fast, so we definitely gotta keep our eyes on him,” Fuller said. “He enjoys space, though, so don’t give it to him.”Defensively, Nebraska has struggled in all fronts, but mostly in the passing game. The Cornhuskers allow the 20th-most passing yards with 272.0 per game. This has given teams the opportunity to light up Nebraska’s defense for 33.4 points a game, 29th-worst in the nation.The Cornhuskers had allowed 24 points or more in every game this year prior to their 45-9 win over Bethune-Cookman.PredictionNebraska has some playmakers to work with on the offensive end, and Spielman could find some space in the middle of the field if Ohio State has yet to make any adjustments since the Purdue loss.Martinez could find success in the option game, much like Penn State redshirt senior quarterback Trace McSorley did in his record-breaking performance against the Buckeyes a month ago.But Nebraska ran into Ohio State at the wrong time.After losing to Iowa by 31 last season, the Buckeyes came out a week later and annihilated a then-No. 12 Michigan State team 48-3, scoring 35 unanswered points less than 25 minutes into the game.If Ohio State squeaked out a close victory over the Boilermakers before the bye, maybe Nebraska had a chance. But as it stands, the Cornhuskers are running into a buzzsaw, coming up against a Buckeyes team that is both better on paper and incredibly angry.Even if all of that wasn’t enough, the lackluster pass defense will not do Nebraska any favors against redshirt sophomore quarterback Dwayne Haskins, and only time will tell if sophomore running back J.K. Dobbins and redshirt junior running back Mike Weber will finally break loose on a subpar Cornhusker rush defense.If Ohio State comes out as mad as it did against the Spartans last year, this will get ugly, fast. If not, the Buckeyes are still the much better team, and should be able to handle any scares the Nebraska offense could give.Wyatt Crosher: 52-10 Ohio StateColin Gay: 49-14 Ohio StateEdward Sutelan: 42-21 Ohio StateRachel Bules: 45-10 Ohio State read more

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Primary school league tables 2016 compare your schools performance

first_imgIn separate measures published this year, a school will also be considered to be above the floor standard if pupils achieve sufficient progress scores in all three subjects, namely at least -5 in English reading, -5 in mathematics  and  -7 in English writing.Our unique interactive version of the table allows you to search these results and others by specific school or region and compare schools of your choice against one another. If you want to search by specific school or postcode you can type it into the search box. Alternatively, use the interactive map to search by region. You can then add schools to your comparison list by checking the ‘add to compare’ box or clicking the ‘add to compare’ button.The compare page shows you this headline measure, alongside the percentage of pupils achieving the ‘higher standard’ in reading, writing and maths, and a school’s average scaled score and progress made in each subject. School league tables showing the performance of 11-year-olds at primary schools across the country have been published today by the Department for Education.Pupils are assessed in reading, writing, and maths, with at least 65 per cent of pupils required to meet the expected standard (previously Level 4) in the 3 Rs. Clicking on an individual school’s name brings up more detailed information, including the relevant national and regional averages and the school’s location, contact information and pupil intake.Our other interactive league tables:A-level school league tables: compare your school’s performanceGCSE school league tables: compare your school’s performanceTop 100 secondary schools by A-level resultsTop 100 secondary schools by GCSE resultsNotes: Schools with no data are excluded from the tables for several reasons, including: small numbers of pupils (which risks an individual pupil’s results being identified); investigations into maladministration of tests; no pupils at Key Stage 2 level; or for other reasons beyond the school’s control. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

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Londoners to hold vigil on Monday evening and minutes silence on Tuesday

first_imgThe Union flag is flown at half mast in Downing StreetCredit:PA The UK will observe a minute’s silence on Tuesday, June 6, and flags will remain at half-mast on Whitehall government buildings, Downing Street has announced.The silence will be held at 11am in remembrance of those killed and hurt by the attacks in London on Saturday evening.Londoners can also attend a vigil in Potters Fields Park beside City Hall tomorrow evening from 6pm. The Union flag is flown at half mast in Downing Street Flags across the country have already been flying at half mast after seven people were killed in a van and knife rampage by three terrorists on London Bridge and nearby Borough Market in Southwark. The event was announced on the Mayor of London’s website with the message: “The Mayor invites all Londoners – and everyone visiting our city – to come together in solidarity to remember those who have lost their lives in Saturday’s attack, to express sympathy with their families and loved ones and to show the world that we stand united in the face of those who seek to harm us and our way of life.”We will never let these cowards win and we will never be cowed by terrorism.”Members of the public will be able to lay floral tributes at the flagpoles at City Hall.” The attack comes only two months after Khalid Masood mowed down crowds on Westminster Bridge, killing five people and less than two weeks after Salman Abedi killed 22 when he blew himself up at an Ariana Grande pop concert in Manchester. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

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Facebook and Instagram are killing off our memories

first_imgIn a separate story at the University of Texas, researchers found people are worse at performing simple tasks and remembering information when they have a smartphone within eye shot – suggesting people should leave them in their pockets or handbags. Even when they were turned off and in our line of sight, people still seemed distracted, the scientists found.What’s more, posting pictures on social media can actually alter our perception of how we recall certain events. Cognitive scientist Alixandra Barash, from New York University, has been delving into research about how smartphones change what we notice.Using Christmas as an example, she said if she asked so-called “Instagrammers” to recall their experience of the festive season, they’d actually start visualising what happened from an “outsider’s perspective” – as if they were looking at a photograph rather than the real thing.She said: “When people are in more of a third-person perspective, they’ll have less intense emotions when they relive the experience, whereas if I stay in the first-person perspective, I feel the genuine emotions that I felt during the exchange.” These people in pink raincoats on a boat ride at Niagara Fall may struggle to remember exactly what they saw A week later, they were quizzed on aspects of the visit. A group armed with iPods with cameras, taking pictures as they went, recalled less correct answers about what they had set their eyes upon than a separate group armed with nothing but their memories.The researchers say this proves having a device like a smartphone containing a camera takes us away from the moment. The obsession with taking smartphone photos is causing people to lose their most precious memories, according to new research.Scientists found that people are so distracted by taking pictures, they couldn’t actually remember what they had seen.The study, published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, said using smartphones alters our memories by taking us away from the moment.It’s the latest in a line of research revealing how smartphones and staring at screens impacts on not only our health, but all aspects of our lives.The researchers decided to look at how we increasingly use social media to record and share our experiences in a surprise memory test.They took hundreds of participants on a self-guided tour of a church and encouraged people to take notes of what they saw – including what the building looked like.center_img The science behind it says that when we create memories, neurons in our brains link together sensations such as what something looked or felt like. But when we’re distracted, these are not stored in our brains – instead lasting forever on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.Emma Templeton, a Dartmouth College psychological researcher who led the the study, wrote that “participants without media consistently remembered their experience more precisely than participants who used media.” She added: “Together, these findings suggest that using media may prevent people from remembering the very events they are attempting to preserve.”Previously, studies have shown how the constant presence of a mobile phone in our hands has a “brain drain” effect, that reduces people’s intelligence and attention spans. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. These people in pink raincoats on a boat ride at Niagara Fall may struggle to remember exactly what they sawCredit:Oleksiy Maksymenko/All Canada Photoslast_img read more

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